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Posted 2 weeks ago by Justin Wanstall

An introduction to Headless eCommerce

Increasingly retailers are under pressure to quickly adapt to changing eCommerce market environments and ever-evolving customer demands. And this is where Headless eCommerce can best be utilized.

Put simply, Headless eCommerce is the separation of the front-end system that defines how the website looks from the eCommerce back end solution; enabling them to operate independently with the help of an API (application programming interface).

Why is this important? Because eCommerce platforms can be very restrictive when it comes to design and that means it can [negatively] impact how the website looks and how people use it.


What are the main benefits of Headless eCommerce?

There are 6 key benefits to incorporating a Headless eCommerce platform for someone looking to sell online:

  1. Flexibility – As mentioned, changes to the website are easier and quicker as the front and back ends have ultimately been separated. Meaning, the eCommerce platform restrictions are no more.
  2. Customisation – By integrating data about the user confined within the eCommerce back end with logic from the front end, it can enable your website to offer a more personal experience for the customer. Providing the platform for more tailored content relating to gender, location and so on.
  3. Agility – When marketing wants to launch a new promotional campaign, they don’t have to rely on developers to source, often prohibitive, extensions to the eCommerce platform or build custom functionality. A headless eCommerce website offers teams like this flexibility to help increase revenue coming through the website.
  4. Speed - Since the presentation layer can load and then talk to the API of the eCommerce platform when needed you end up with a slick user experience with higher engagement and conversations since it responds faster. A recent study highlighted that for every one second of site speed improvement websites experienced up to a 2% increase in work enquiries… so a huge benefit when it comes to generating work.
  5. Security – by keeping the eCommerce platform behind the scenes it is less exposed to the day to day hack attempts that eCommerce websites must defend themselves against.
  6. Omnichannel capabilities – from inventory data coming from warehousing to orders being fed into the eCommerce platform, all information can be delivered across web, app, POS, voice assistants etc.

Why should you use it?

If you’re looking to create a future proof eCommerce website there are very few disadvantages of adopting a headless eCommerce approach. Consider it to be a predominantly forward-thinking adjustment that prepares retailers for the inevitable fact that somewhere down the line, business requirements will change, and so will how people use websites.

We recently used a headless eCommerce system with our client www.parsonsnose.co.uk/shop and already we’re seeing the benefit through increased web user engagement. As well as allowing them to have complete structural and visual adaptability whilst leveraging Shopify’s excellent eCommerce capabilities.

It is becoming increasingly important to consider Headless eCommerce as it eliminates the possibility of having to rebuild an entire website due to a shift in objectives and effectively positions retailers so they can quickly and positively meet changing market needs.

About the author

Justin is head of production at Kayo and oversees the creative output as well as technical delivery.  He has worked in web design since the early days of 1997 and focuses on pixel perfection and usability backing it up with a rock solid technical knowledge of the web.

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